Environmentally friendly coffins – made of wool

JC Atkinson, the largest manufacturer and distributor of coffins in the U.K.,  sells more than 60,000 coffins (caskets) per year.  JC Atkinson stocks a number of styles that are fully biodegradable, such as coffins made of willow, seagrass and bamboo – as well as cardboard.  However the unique coffin they sell which would appeal to rural Australians, particularly woolgrowers, is the ‘Natural Legacy’ wool coffin. Developed by  Hainsworth, a Yorkshire textile company more than two centuries old, producing everything from Windsor Castle Royal Guard uniforms to cloths for snooker tables and lining for Rolls Royces, the ‘Natural Legacy’ coffin was first sold in 2009.  It has a frame of recycled cardboard, wooden slats on the bottom, jute support straps and an organic cotton lining, and comes with a pillow stuffed with wool.  The whole exterior of the coffin is made of  wool felt produced by Hainsworth. 

The woollen ‘Natural Legacy’ coffin can carry more than a quarter of a tonne however the wool coffins are said to be especially appreciated by parents purchasing coffins for children (every parent’s worst nightmare), because it is like wrapping the person who died in a blanket.  Woollen ashes caskets are also available.  No dies are used so they’re only available in the two most common natural wool colours – white or dark brown.

These woollen coffins are already available in Australia but  the catch for Australian farmers is that the ‘Natural Legacy’ coffins are  currently only made of British wool – the only product that Hainsworth uses British wool for (in an effort to assist British wool producers).  As Australian woollen mills are few and far between these days, it’s unlikely coffins made of Australian wool will ever be made here.  However Hainsworth buys most of their wool from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, and if woollen coffin sales increase, their ‘Natural legacy’ coffins may be made of Australian wool in future.

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